Rutherford B. Hayes

Presidents Who Were Most Prolific Authors In Life Or After Their Deaths

The issue of the intellectual prowess of Presidents is a significant one, in a time of a President who does not display much intellectual interest or talents.

Of course, ability to write and communicate in diaries or in books is not the only area of competence for a President, but we are fortunate that so many Presidents contributed to our nation in their writings.

First, however, is which Presidents did NOT contribute any significant writings in print or in diaries, although many left behind a massive amount of manuscripts, which historians have utilized in their published books on Presidents.

The list would include, chronologically, the following 20 Presidents.

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Chester Alan Arthur
William McKinley
William Howard Taft
Warren G. Harding
Franklin D. Roosevelt

A long list of Presidents (24) wrote diaries, Memoirs, or autobiographies, or other published works in their lifetime, or after their deaths, including, chronologically:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
James K. Polk
James Buchanan
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Theodore Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump

Of all of these 24 who contributed published works, only a few, however, were voluminous, substantial, and could be described as prolific.

John Quincy Adams, with his 69 year diary in 48 volumes, would be one such case.

James K. Polk. with his 4 volume diary, would be another.

Theodore Roosevelt was extremely active as an author, and Woodrow Wilson was an active academic, which explains his large amount of publishing.

Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, all with long retirements, were prolific, and Carter has continued to be so.

Barack Obama is expected to join this group of prolific authors, and had two books before his Presidency, similar to John F. Kennedy, who clearly would have contributed more, had he not been assassinated.

So this is a summary of the literary intellectual life of our 44 Presidents!

Potential Of 2017 Being Third Time In American History Of Three Presidents, After 1841 And 1881!

There is continued turmoil surrounding the Trump Presidency, with the latest developments, including the growing number of Republicans denouncing Trump for his reaction to Charlottesville; the resignation of businessmen from his various councils; the decision of many corporations and groups to refuse to use Trump properties for their gatherings; the condemnation of military leaders, intelligence professionals, diplomats and arts committee members; and legions of conservatives alienated from the 45th President.

So the possibility exists that Donald Trump, under fire, might resign from the Presidency, before the Robert Mueller investigation can bring charges of Russian collusion against him.

It used to seem impossible to imagine a resignation, but the idea looks more possible by the day.

Were that to happen, and if it happened before the end of 2017, it would mark the third time in American history, that the nation has had THREE Presidents in the same calendar year.

In 1841, losing Presidential candidate Martin Van Buren served until March 4, and then was succeeded by his successful opponent, William Henry Harrison. A month later, on April 4, Harrison died of pneumonia, having been sick beginning on the evening of the inauguration, and having been the oldest President at inauguration until then, and until later when we had Ronald Reagan in 1981 and Donald Trump in 2017. Vice President John Tyler succeeded to the Presidency on April 4, marking three Presidents in little more than three months of the year.

In 1881, outgoing President Rutherford B. Hayes finished his term on March 4, and was succeeded by Presidential winner James A. Garfield, who four months later, on July 2, was shot and seriously wounded by assassin Charles J. Guiteau. With medical malpractice, Garfield suffered greatly over the next two and a half months, and died on September 19, having been in a coma much of the time. Vice President Chester Alan Arthur succeeded Garfield, so in eight and a half months, we had seen three Presidents.

Now in 2017, we had Barack Obama as President until January 20, when Donald Trump succeeded him, and the odds are growing that he could resign before the year’s end, making Vice President Mike Pence the 46th President of the United States before the beginning of 2018.

Donald Trump Competes With Warren G. Harding And George W. Bush As Least Intelligent President Of The United States!

The more one observes President Donald Trump, the more one realizes that he is one of the most ignorant, ill informed, and least intelligent Presidents of the United States.

Many of our Presidents have been intellectual heavyweights (16), including:

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Abraham Lincoln
James A. Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Others, while not intellectually outstanding, were capable of good leadership (13) including:

George Washington
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush

Then, there are others who are mediocre by comparison, but had at least some redeeming qualities (12), including:

Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
Chester Alan Arthur
Benjamin Harrison
Calvin Coolidge

And then there are the three Presidents at the absolute bottom intellectually, and all three disasters in office, including

Warren G. Harding
George W. Bush
Donald Trump

At least Harding and Bush were decent human beings, who bumbled their way through the Presidency, but Donald Trump is, in many ways, more ignorant and dense than either Harding or the second Bush.

Harding was a lightweight intellectually, but at least he published a newspaper in Marion, Ohio, before his political career, and he had some outstanding cabinet officers including Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert Hoover.

George W. Bush, we know, read a great deal in the White House, while Trump is not a reader, and hardly gets past a page or two, even of important documents, as we learn that he counts on his top staff people to keep him up to date, and prefers Twitter and watching cable news as his main sources of information. His lack of intellectual curiosity, and willingness to believe conspiracy theories as fact is extremely alarming.

Trump has shown total ignorance of history and science, and is proving to be a true total disaster after only a little more than 100 days in office. He is much more destructive of the image of the Presidency than Harding or Bush could ever be!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey Results On George W. Bush And Bill Clinton: Little Hope Of Further Rise, And Never Above Barack Obama

The C Span 2017 Presidential survey gives evidence that the two Presidents before Barack Obama–George W. Bush and Bill Clinton—are unlikely to rise very much from their positions in the recent polling.

George W. Bush was a very low 36 in 2009 and now has risen a few notches to 33, while Bill Clinton, who had been 21 in 2000, and rose to 15 in 2009, remained at 15 in 2017.

Bush’s slight rise is due to recognition that he did have some virtues, as with his promotion of immigration reform although it failed to be achieved, his education reforms (No Child Left Behind), his promotion of tolerance toward Muslims after September 11, his prescription drug program for seniors, and his aid to Africa on AIDS.

But there is little room to move up, as to believe that Bush’s failures will ever be overlooked enough that he will rise above Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford, seems delusional.

So at the most, Bush might move above Rutherford B. Hayes, who has had a dramatic drop from 26 in 2000 to 33 in 2009 and slightly up to 32 in 2017; Zachary Taylor (who died after the third shortest term); Benjamin Harrison (who was sandwiched in between Grover Cleveland’s two terms); and James A. Garfield (who died after the second shortest term due to assassination). It is not really an accomplishment to pass two short term Presidents, and two one term Presidents of the Gilded Age. No one higher from Number 28 Richard Nixon upward is a likely candidate to fall below Bush ever in the future. So Bush will not be like Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Lyndon B. Johnson, who started off low and then rose to the top ten over time.

As far as Bill Clinton is concerned, his original low standing was due to the fact that he had the most corrupt Democratic Party administration, although it was on a lesser level than Republicans Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan. His personal sex scandals brought him down as he was leaving office, but his rise in 2009 seemed reasonable, but really what will allow him to rise further, as he did not do in 2017?

The more one looks at Clinton, the more one realizes that his time in office is best remembered for a good economy which just happened to be lucky to coincide, but which included the moat conservative Democratic administration of the 20th century, with him cooperating with the Republicans on ending the Interstate Commerce Commission; ending the federal guarantee of welfare; passing very strict crime bills that backfired over time; and allowing corporate mergers that no other Democratic President would have allowed. And his shortcomings became more evident as his wife, Hillary Clinton, pursued the Presidency, and ultimately lost, even though she won the popular vote by three million.

The only practical way for Bill Clinton to rise is to overcome James K. Polk, who was extremely successful in his one term; or James Monroe, who in his two terms, accomplished enough that his significance has been recognized. So do not expect any rise from number 15 for Bill Clinton, despite his great charisma and personality.

When Bush and Clinton pass away in the future, it might cause some rise in their ratings, but unlikely long term, and it is a reality that Barack Obama, already ahead of both and likely to rise, will always be ahead of the two Presidents before him, as well as certainly so above the President who has succeeded him, Donald Trump, who has in one month set his legacy, that he will be at the bottom or close to the bottom of ratings in future surveys after he leaves office, hopefully sooner than one term.

Donald Trump keeps on saying he inherited a “mess”, a total lie, which will not stand now or in the long run of historical analysis!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Presidents Who Dropped In Stature Include Five Democrats, One Republican, One Democrat Who Became A Whig

The CSpan 2017 Presidential Survey saw several Presidents who dropped dramatically in stature and reputation over the history of the three polls in 2000, 2009, and 2017. This is defined as four or more slots in decline.

Woodrow Wilson (D) dropped from 6 to 9 to 11.

Andrew Jackson (D) dropped from 13 in 2000 and 2009 to 18 in 2017.

Grover Cleveland (D) dropped from 17 to 21 to 23.

Jimmy Carter (D) dropped from 22 to 25 to 26.

Rutherford B. Hayes (R) dropped from 26 to 33 and then up slightly to 32.

Martin Van Buren (D) dropped from 30 to 31 to 34.

John Tyler (D to W) was 36, went up to 35 and then dropped to 39.

At the same time that five Democrats dropped in the polls, 8 of the top 15 in the poll were Democrats (FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Wilson, Obama, Polk, Clinton), to 4 Republicans (Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan), 2 Democratic Republicans (Jefferson, Monroe), and 1 Federalist (Washington).

With only four Republicans in the top 15 (all in the top 10), the only other Republicans in the top 20 are McKinley (16) and Bush Senior (20), with the other three in the top 20 being Democratic Republican Madison (17), Democrat Andrew Jackson (18), and Federalist John Adams (19).

“Illegitimate” Presidents From JQ Adams To Donald Trump

The question of “illegitimate” Presidents is nothing new in American history.

Any President who has failed to win the popular vote (5), and any President who has failed to win a majority of the total popular vote (11 with 3 two times), due to more than two candidates in the race, has been seen by opponents as “illegitimate”

So we have John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush the first time, and Donald Trump that fit into the first category mentioned above.

We also have James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland twice, Woodrow Wilson twice, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon the first time, and Bill Clinton twice, who fit into the second category mentioned above.

So 19 times out of a total of 58 national elections for President, or one third of the time, we have had Presidents who did not have a majority of the voters behind them!

And 16 Presidents out of 43, nearly 40 percent, have not won the majority of the popular vote!

And then we have Barack Obama, who won a majority of the popular vote twice, but has had constant attacks that he is “illegitimate” based on a “Birther” theory that he was not born in the Unites States.

This issue of “illegitimacy” is rampant right now regarding Donald Trump, because he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million, much larger than the other four popular vote losers who won the Electoral College, and civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, has said, rightfully, that he sees Trump as “illegitimate” and will not attend Trump’s inauguration next Friday.

Since Trump led those who said Barack Obama was “illegitimate”, appropriate that John Lewis take the stand he has, and there is an old saying” “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”, and also “What goes around comes around”!

Donald Trump: The Most Unpopular Presidential Winner In American History

Donald Trump may have won the Electoral College, and will be inaugurate on January 20, 2017, as our 45th President.

But he will be inaugurated knowing that he is the most unpopular Presidential winner in American history!

It looks as if Hillary Clinton will have won the widest popular vote victory of the five Democrats who have lost the Electoral College.

Andrew Jackson had a 45,000 vote edge over John Quincy Adams in 1824.

Grover Cleveland had a 100,000 vote edge over Benjamin Harrison in 1888.

Samuel Tilden had a 250,000 vote lead over Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.

Al Gore had a 540,000 vote lead over George W. Bush in 2000.

But now in 2016, Hillary Clinton has a constantly mounting popular vote lead over Donald Trump of at least 672,000 votes, and it is thought when all votes are counted, including absentee, overseas, and mail ballots not yet counted, and many of them coming from California and Washington State and even New York, that the margin could reach 2 million!

Trump already was the most unpopular Presidential winner in public opinion polls, with 60 percent not endorsing him, and yet he won the right combination of states to win the Electoral College.

The Electoral College Fails For The Fifth Time, With Democrats The Losers All 5 Times: 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, 2016

The Electoral College has failed for the fifth time, and twice in 16 years.

The same thing happened in 2000, with Al Gore, and in 1888 with Grover Cleveland, and in 1876 with Samuel Tilden, and in 1824 with Andrew Jackson.

Each of these four times, and now with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote to their opponent, with each candidate who won the Presidency, except John Quincy Adams in 1824 (National Republican) being a Republican–Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000, and now Donald Trump in 2016.

To imagine it would happen 16 years apart (2000 and 2016) after having occurred 12 years apart (1876 and 1888) makes the urgency to change the Electoral College, but it has been attempted before and has failed.

So we are stuck with the reality that this can happen again and again, sadly!

Ten Most Divisive And Polarizing Elections In American History

As we near the end of an extremely divisive and polarizing election, it is a good time to look back and judge what were the ten most divisive and polarizing elections in American history.

Chronologically, they would be the following:

The Election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

The Election of 1828 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson

The Election of 1860 between Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell

The Election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden

The Election of 1884 between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine

The Election of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

The Election of 1912 between Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs

The Election of 1948 between Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace

The Election of 1968 between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace

The Election of 2000 between George W. Bush, Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Pat Buchanan

CNN Reminds Us Of “The Endless Election” Tonight At 9 PM

CNN tonight will have an hour presentation, reminding us of the Presidential Election of 2000, entitled “The Endless Election”.

Many Americans, younger than college age students, have no real memory or knowledge of this transformative election, in which, for the fourth time in American history, the loser of the national popular vote won the Electoral College and the Presidency.

George W. Bush joined John Quincy Adams in the Presidential Election of 1824; Rutherford B. Hayes in the Presidential Election of 1876; and Benjamin Harrison in the Presidential Election of 1888, in that unique circumstance and quirk of the Electoral College system set up by the Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

Bush turned out be a major disaster in many ways, including the September 11, 2001 attacks; the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003; Hurricane Katrina in 2005; and the Great  Recession of 2008-2009.

No one is saying all of these tragedies would have been avoided with a President Al Gore, but most observers agree that Bush will rank in the bottom ten of all Presidents for the long run.

The idea that “hanging chads” in Florida would cause a 36 day election crisis, until the Supreme Court controversially intervened on a straight party line vote to grant Bush the win in Florida by 537 popular votes, still is upsetting to many, and one has to wonder how the Al Gore contribution to the Presidency would have changed history, and affected America long term!